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(483 words)

Caste (Port. casta, “race, lineage”), which is fundamental to Hinduism, rests on the idea of ritual purity (Cultic Purity). It is also a socially and historically conditioned way of organizing society with a religious sanction.

1. Caste is based on racial distinction (the Sanskrit word for caste, varṇa, means “color”), which resulted from centuries-long struggles between the light-skinned Aryan conquerors and the dark-skinned original inhabitants. It is also based on a class and guild system that, through regional, economic, and religious differenti…

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von Brück, Michael, “Caste”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 13 May 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_C185>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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